Two Punches I Have to Knock any Heavyweight Philosophizer to the Canvass.
Words of wisdom the bully does not expect.
A philosopher who is not taking part in discussions is like a boxer who never goes into the ring. Wittgenstein.
The first secret weapon I’m about to tell you about I learned from a very heretic European movie from the ’60s or ’70s (I believe it was an Italian film, but it could have been British — I don’t remember — nor does it matter). In the movie, a character asks: What does a priest grow?! Hair?! Obviously, it presents both a rhetorical and provocative question to which there is no right answer. If you prefer, you can adapt the sentence and ask, “is your idea somehow useful?”
When I use this phrase I usually change priest to philosopher and use it as an argument to defend materialistic and empirical standpoints against useless theories (in philosophy, there are too many of them). In case your opponent says: “a priest takes care of spirituality,” or something like that, you may suggest he take a headache medicine, or you may refer him to a good shrink. In fact, Freud once said: religion failed to take care of humanity. That’s true. So, now is the time for psychology, philosophy, and science to flourish.
The second secret weapon I use to defend a deep, serious, theoretical standpoint. I use it against cheap empiricists. It is a sentence formulated by Husserl. He once said: experience by itself is not science. I tend to use this phrase to make people realize that even from an empiricist, or materialistic standpoint, the position requires support from theories about truth, method, or ethics. So, in whatever philosophical discussion you may find yourself, remember that logic and good ideas will always at least yield a tie, and may so surprise the scholar that you can land a few punches.